Pre-commissioning testing is set to begin at a new £17.5m wind farm near Darlington after the scheme’s last turbine was put in place.
Over the last two months, Banks Renewables has been working to erect the six turbines which comprise its new Moor House wind farm, which sits on land to the north east of Barmpton, around three miles to the east of the A1, and has now reached the end of the scheme’s construction phase.
The turbines will now be energised, with commissioning work scheduled to be carried out through the remaining weeks of the year before the wind farm starts to generate clean green energy early in the new year.
The £750,000 community benefits fund linked to what will be the ninth onshore wind farm that County Durham-headquartered Banks Renewables has built has already been launched, with local community groups and voluntary organisations being encouraged to submit their initial applications as soon as possible.
An annual allowance of £15,000 will be available in support of local community groups, environmental projects and voluntary organisations, while the same amount again will be available every year to support activities related to employment and training opportunities.
A further one-off allocation of £50,000 will be ring-fenced to support energy efficiency and micro-renewables projects for community buildings within the area surrounding the wind farm.
A funding committee made up of community representatives has been set up to help ensure the money is spent in ways which meet local priorities, with Cllr Brian Jones of Darlington Borough Council being appointed as committee chair.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The construction team has done a great job in often challenging conditions to ensure that the Moor House turbines were put in place on schedule, and we’re very pleased to have reached this latest landmark.
“Onshore wind is recognised as being the most effective technology in delivering carbon reduction targets for the UK at the lowest cost for the consumer, and has a key role to play in generating more of the energy that we all use in powering our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals via renewable means.
“The money available from the Moor House fund will make a big difference to the facilities and activities that local people are able to access for years to come, and we’re keen to hear from local groups and good causes now on how they think it might best be used, so we can move quickly when the wind farm starts to generate revenues for the fund.
“Banks Renewables has become one of the UK’s leading owner-operators in the onshore wind sector, and as a County Durham business, we’re proud to be making further use of what is one of the best available wind resources in the whole of Europe through the third wind farm we’ve built in our home region.”
Eligibility for the Moor House community benefits fund is normally restricted to projects and activities within the communities at Sadberge, Bishopton, East & West Newbiggin, Bishopton, Little Stainton, Great Stainton, Great Burdon, Barmpton and Brafferton, as well as areas of Whinfield, Harrogate Hill, Beaumont Hill and Coatham Mundeville which are north of the A1150 and east of the A167.
Projects in neighbouring areas may also be eligible if they can be shown to benefit people living within the closest communities.